Welcoming Spring 2015

Welcoming Spring
Below – Arkansas artist Anita Huffington: “Persephone”


Greeting Spring with Art – Sandro Botticelli: “Springtime”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: William Shakespeare

“Sonnet 98”

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Below – G. H. Riman: “When Love…Goes to Field.”

Greeting Spring with Prose: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”

Springtime in Fayetteville, Arkansas – Part I of III: Old Main

Greeting Spring with Art – Jean-Francois Millet: “Spring”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: William Wordsworth

“Lines Written in Early Spring”

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Greeting Spring with Prose: Mark Twain

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

Springtime in Fayetteville, Arkansas – Part II of III: Fayetteville Farmers’ Market

Greeting Spring with Art – Claude Monet: “Willows in Spring”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: e e cummings

“Who Knows If The Moon’s”

who knows if the moon’s
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky—filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited,where

Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves

Below – Vintage Postcard

Greeting Spring with Prose: Rainer Maria Rilke

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

Springtime in Fayetteville, Arkansas – Part III of III: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Greeting Spring with Art – Pierre Auguste Cot: “Springtime”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: Claude McKay

“After the Winter”

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
And ferns that never fade.

Greeting Spring with Art – Vincent van Gogh: “Banks of the Seine with Pont de Clichy in the Spring”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: Billy Collins


If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.


Greeting Spring with Art – John Singer Sargent: “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: Jim Harrison

“Birds Again”

A secret came a week ago though I already
knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.
The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds
are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.
I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite-
weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation
and now they’re roosting within me, recalling
how I had watched them at night
in fall and spring passing across earth moons,
little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing
on their way north or south. Now in my dreams
I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,
the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying
me rather than me carrying them. Next winter
I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado
and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching
on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye
and I’ll return my dreams to earth.


Springtime in Fairbanks, Alaska – Part I of II: Early Spring

Greeting Spring with Art – Tom Thomson: “Spring Ice”

Greeting Spring with Song: The Beatles


Greeting Spring with Poetry: Percy Bysshe Shelley

From “The Sensitive Plant”

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

Greeting Spring with Art – John William Waterhouse: “Spring”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: Timothy Steele

“In the Memphis Airport”

Above the concourse, from a beam,
A little warbler pours forth song.
Beneath him, hurried humans stream:
Some draw wheeled suitcases along
Or from a beeping belt or purse
Apply a cell phone to an ear;
Some pause at banks of monitors
Where times and gates for flights appear.

Although by nature flight-endowed,
He seems too gentle to reproach
These souls who soon will climb through cloud
In first class, business class, and coach.
He may feel that it’s his mistake
He’s here, but someone ought to bring
A net to catch and help him make
His own connections north to spring.

He cheeps and trills on, swift and sweet,
Though no one outside hears his strains.
There, telescopic tunnels greet
The cheeks of their arriving planes;
A ground crew welcomes and assists
Luggage that skycaps, treating bags
Like careful ornithologists,
Banded with destination tags.

Springtime in Fairbanks, Alaska – Part II of II: Late Spring
Spring green trees and roadway

Greeting Spring with Poetry: Amy Gerstler

“In Perpetual Spring”

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.

Suddenly the archetypal
human desire for peace
with every other species
wells up in you. The lion
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Garden in Bloom”

Greeting Spring with Art – Pablo Picasso: “Spring”


Greeting Spring with Poetry: e e cummings

“[in Just-]”

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan whistles


Greeting Spring with Art – Winslow Homer: “Peach Blossoms”

Springtime in San Francisco – Part I of II: Japanese Tea Garden
aSan Francisco1

Greeting Spring with Poetry: Kobayashi Issa


What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.

Greeting Spring with Prose: Pablo Neruda

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”

Below – John William Waterhouse: “A Song of Springtime”


Greeting Spring with Art – Walter Crane: “Spring”


Greeting Spring with Poetry: Lisa Olstein

“Dear One Absent This Long While”

It has been so wet stones glaze in moss;
everything blooms coldly.

I expect you. I thought one night it was you
at the base of the drive, you at the foot of the stairs,

you in a shiver of light, but each time
leaves in wind revealed themselves,

the retreating shadow of a fox, daybreak.
We expect you, cat and I, bluebirds and I, the stove.

In May we dreamed of wreaths burning on bonfires
over which young men and women leapt.

June efforts quietly.
I’ve planted vegetables along each garden wall

so even if spring continues to disappoint
we can say at least the lettuce loved the rain.

I have new gloves and a new hoe.
I practice eulogies. He was a hawk

with white feathered legs. She had the quiet ribs
of a salamander crossing the old pony post road.

Yours is the name the leaves chatter
at the edge of the unrabbited woods.

Below – Claude Monet: “Painting by the Edge of a Wood”
Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood ?1885 by John Singer Sargent 1856-1925

Springtime in San Francisco – Part II of II: The Bridge
aSan Francisco2

Greeting Spring with Art – Andrew Wyeth: “Spring Branch”

Greeting Spring with Poetry: James Wright

“A Blessing”

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.


Greeting Spring with Art: Claude Monet: “An Orchard in Spring”

Greeting Spring with Prose: Henry David Thoreau

“One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have the leisure and opportunity to see the spring come in.”

Below – Walden Pond


The Voice of Spring – Part I of II: Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: “The Voice of Spring”

The Voice of Spring – Part II of II: A Local Example

Welcome, Lovely Spring

Below – Marcia Hirschy: “Vernal Equinox”

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